The league’s best road team takes on its poorest home side. Toronto FC’s 23 points on their travels so far this season put them six ahead of the rest of the league (though three of the teams on 17 have a game in hand) and is more than double the amount the LA Galaxy have collected at the StubHub Center.
Both teams will be missing key players for their first meeting of the campaign. Toronto have left Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore at home to rest, while LA’s Romain Alessandrini and Jermaine Jones are suspended.
Kick-off: 10.30 p.m. ET
Venue: StubHub Center, Carson
What does Toronto’s lineup look like in the absence of Giovinco and Altidore?
Jordan Hamilton and Tosaint Ricketts will both hope to start up front, but a more likely setup may be Victor Vazquez floating behind Ricketts and Jonathan Osorio added to the midfield.
That’s assuming no one else is rested. While there has been no indication given as of yet that there will be absentees beyond the two designated players, it’s entirely possible.
The key matchup may not involve two players but rather the approaches of the two teams.
Toronto secured one of their best results of the season earlier this year by going to Seattle in a very disciplined system with a lone striker and challenging the Sounders, who were still working out a few kinks at that stage, to take the initiative.
You imagine the plan will be the same here, given that LA are still yet to figure things out on their own turf: let the Galaxy have some of the ball and be lured into the traps that give Toronto the chance to hurt them on the break.
The opposition view
Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid is preparing to go up against a branch on his coaching tree:
“Greg Vanney is a great friend and someone that I’ve known from my UCLA days and when he played for me for the Galaxy,” Schmid said. “He’s a great guy and a great coach and [has] done very well with that team. They’re confident and they won’t miss a beat not having [Giovinco and Altidore]. They have a good team chemistry and have kept their group together.”
TV channel & live stream
TV: TSN 1, 3 & 4 (Canada), Spectrum SportsNet (USA)
Stream: TSN Go (Canada), Spectrum Sportsnet Live (USA), MLS Live (out of market)
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto), LAGalaxy.com
As mentioned, the Galaxy will be without two key men in Alessandrini and Jones due to yellow-card accumulation.
Daniel Steres has also been ruled out due to a back injury, which means new signing Michael Ciani could debut in central defence. Robbie Rogers, Sebastian Lletget, Baggio Husidic and Pele van Anholt are long-term absentees.
Toronto have not revealed whether they will rest more players beyond Giovinco and Altidore but Marky Delgado and Chris Mavinga, a couple of the most likely candidates for a break, have both made the trip.
Nick Hagglund and Benoit Cheyrou are injured.
LA Galaxy: Kempin; Diallo, Romney, Ciani, Cole; Pedro, J. Dos Santos; Jamieson, G. Dos Santos, Boateng; Zardes.
Toronto: Bono; Zavaleta, Moor, Mavinga; Beitashour, Delgado, Bradley, Osorio, Morrow; Vazquez; Ricketts.